Larger kitchen appliances seem to get the lion’s share of cleaning detail. The dishwasher, stove, microwave, and even the blender become part of the routine process of cleaning the kitchen.
But we don’t want to overlook smaller appliances, especially those that get used quite often, like the toaster. Whether it sits on the kitchen counter or a side table, or is stored in a cupboard after each use, it needs to be cleaned occasionally, too. Add this small appliance to your list of clean-up chores on a monthly basis. Soon you’ll get used to the idea of including this item in your list of duties. Here’s how to do the job:
- Unplug the toaster and move it near the sink. Bring a trashcan close by for easy access. In lieu of these, you can spread a piece of newspaper on the counter or the table to catch the crumbs as you clean them out.
- Lift the appliance and open the small grate underneath. Gently shake the toaster until accumulated crumbs in the bottom fall out onto the newspaper, into the sink, or in the trash container. This may take several efforts or a few minutes to disengage all accumulated debris, especially if it has been a while since the last cleaning. Try to hold the toaster steady in dislodging the crumbs so they don’t fly in all directions.
- Take a plastic knife or any piece of cutlery and gently scrape the rest of the crumbs from the bottom of the toaster. Then reach into the top and bottom openings of the appliance to tap or scrape the internal wires to loosen baked-on debris. Look inside to find trapped deposits from burned toast or built up caches of crumbs. Tap these lightly until they crumble out. This may take several minutes if the toaster has not been cleaned in some time, or if several family members frequently use it.
- When you are satisfied that most of the crumbs have been removed, latch the bottom of the toaster to close it. Take a slightly damp cloth and wipe the cord and plug clean of dust. Wipe the area where the toaster usually sits, as well as surrounding appliances or wall space. This includes any cupboard faces or bottoms that are located near the toaster.
- Then lightly moisten a clean cloth with clear warm water. Firmly wipe the outside of the toaster to remove crumbs, smudges, and fingerprints. Don’t forget the dials, knobs, and other cooking indicators or surfaces. If it has a stainless steel finish, daub a clean cloth with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Shine the toaster’s surface to remove all traces of grime or wear. (Do not use alcohol inside the toaster.) Let the appliance air dry.
Plug it back in when you are done, first checking to be sure there is no lingering alcohol scent on the appliance, as this may be flammable. Now you are ready for fresh, hot toast! Repeat the process at least monthly or more often if your toaster enjoys frequent use.